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Research — Water Resources



(Note: combining a subject and location may provide few or no results.)
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Estimating Groundwater Recharge for the Entire State of New Mexico

Groundwater is replenished by a process called recharge, where snowmelt and rain infiltrates through the soil and slowly moves through the subsurface to eventually reach an aquifer. Because groundwater recharge defines a limit for the availability of groundwater, estimating recharge for the state of New Mexico is necessary for effective water resource management.

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Monitoring the recovery of Santa Fe's Buckman Water Well Field

High-production municipal water well fields can depress water levels, cause land subsidence, and disturb subsurface aquifer temperatures. As an example, the City of Santa Fe’s Buckman well field located along the Rio Grande, was pumped at high rates from 1989 to 2003. This high-rate pumping led to a precipitous drop in water level (>100 m), caused measureable ground subsidence over a 25 km2 area (based on 1995-1997 InSAR [satellite-based] data), and created a land-surface fissure with 20 cm of vertical displacement. Pumping rates were reduced after 2003 and water levels have since risen ~120 m.

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Public-private investment in New Mexico’s water future

The hydrogeology studies group (known as the Aquifer Mapping Program), at the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, received an important gift in 2016 from the Healy Foundation to benefit the New Mexico’s water and natural resources. The funds will be used to support two new water-focused, multi-year programs for the state.

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BLM photo by Del DuBois
Southern Taos Valley Hydrogeology

Since 1987 the bureau has been working in southern Taos County on detailed geologic mapping of the northern Rio Grande Valley. In 2011, in response to concerns regarding groundwater availability in the Taos area, the bureau initiated a multi-year hydrogeologic study of the southern Taos Valley, southwest of Taos.

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Springs and Wetlands at La Cienega

The bureau has been involved in a comprehensive study of the geohydrology of the wetlands in the vicinity of La Cienega, south of Santa Fe, since 2011. These springs and wetlands occur where local groundwater flows intersect the surface. They provide an important source of water for domestic and agricultural use as well as wildlife.

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